Iran: “Footballer's wife” faces execution

Shahla Jahed, a "temporary" wife of Nasser Mohammad-Khani, a former striker for the Iranian national football team and former manager of a team in Tehran, is facing imminent execution in Iran after the Supreme Court reportedly maintained her death sentence for the second time. Shahla Jahed stands accused of stabbing to death Laleh Saharkhizan, her husband's "permanent" wife, on 9 October 2002. She may have been coerced into confessing to the murder.

Amnesty members are urgently writing to the Iranian authorities, urging them to stop the execution of Shahla Jahed and to commute her death sentence immediately. They are asking for details of her trial, her appeal and her legal representation, and expressing concern that Shahla Jahed's confession may have been coerced.

Shahla Jahed was said to have confessed to the murder of Laleh Saharkhizan during the initial investigation, but during her trial consistently upheld her innocence. In December 2004, on being told of a previous Supreme Court ruling in the case, Shahla Jahed reportedly said, "Everyone knows the conditions under which I confessed."

The prosecution reportedly claimed that Shahla Jahed had murdered Laleh Saharkhizan out of jealousy. Nasser Mohammad-Khani was himself initially suspected of complicity in the murder and jailed for some months, but was reportedly released.

Background Information

Shahla Jahed was initially sentenced to death by hanging in June 2004. An appeal by her relatives was rejected and the judges of the Supreme Court upheld the sentence. Shahla Jahed's lawyer reportedly wrote a letter to the Head of the Judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, requesting a review of the execution order in view of the fact that Shahla Jahed's case had not been properly investigated. In November 2005 the Head of the Judiciary reportedly ordered a stay of execution so that the case could be re-examined.

On 11 September 2006, the judges of Branch Seven of the Supreme Court reportedly upheld Shahla Jahed's death sentence by a majority vote. Her lawyer reportedly confirmed that the Supreme Court's ruling had been written and endorsed and that both Shahla Jahed and the family of Laleh Saharkhizan would be formally informed of the decision on 13 September.

Under Iranian law, men and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights can have both "permanent" and "temporary" marriages. In a temporary marriage, men and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights can commit to be married for a certain period of time, after which the marriage is null and void.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The organisation has recorded 108 executions in Iran so far this year, including those of two Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, although the true figure may be much higher.

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